If fast, easy recipes are the name of your cooking game, then it’s time to add Lucky Peach Presents: 101 Easy Asian Recipes, the first cookbook from the cult food magazine Lucky Peach, to your shopping cart. The 272-pager includes a pictorial pantry guide, basic explanations of various types of Asian rice and noodles, and a compendium of flavor-packed recipes that are genuinely easy. The dishes—think Chineasy Cucumber Salad, Rotisserie Chicken Ramen, and a trio of “Asian ragùs”—entail no sub-recipes or fussy techniques like deep-frying, but still invoke plenty of creativity and playfulness.
Below is a peek at three recipes—scallion salad, soy sauce eggs, and rotisserie chicken ramen—from the new book. If you’re loving the dishes you see here, then be sure to join us at your local store on Wednesday, February 10 for our latest cookbook club event. Not only will a culinary specialist teach you how to make some of the recipes featured here (in addition to some new ones!), but you’ll also receive your own copy of the cookbook and a generous tasting of all the recipes prepared, from Chineasy Cucumber Salad to Pesto Ramen. Get in touch with your local store for more details.
Scallion salad is one of the thousand things you might see served as banchan, that procession of little dishes that accompanies Korean meals. It’s great with all grilled meats and fishes, and would be a good ride-along to any of the Korean dishes in this book. But you could just as easily decide you want to put it on hot dogs or hamburgers—who’s stopping you, right?
One helpful note if you don’t want to get carpal tunnel syndrome while finely julienning all those scallions: Korean and Japanese markets sell something called a scallion-cutter, a sharp little razor rake that makes slicing up the scallions waaaaay less of a chore. And bigger Korean grocery stores will sell bags of already-sliced scallions that you can bring home, freshen up in some ice water, and dress to taste.
Makes 4 side-dish or garnish servings
1 bunch scallions (about ½ lb)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon gochugaru or other chili flakes
Set up a bowl of ice and water. Cut the scallions crosswise into 3-inch pieces, then slice lengthwise into thin matchsticks. Place in the bowl of ice water and soak for at least 20 minutes—the scallions will curl, crisp, and mellow. (If not serving immediately, refrigerate until ready to use, up to 12 hours.)
When ready to serve, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and chili flakes until the sugar dissolves.
Drain the scallions and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with the dressing and serve.
Soy Sauce Eggs
Make deviled eggs with them! Top your ramen with them! Eat them straight out of the fridge or in the driver’s seat of your big rig on an overnight long haul! Honk!
Makes 6 eggs
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
1 point star anise (optional)
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns (optional)
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, water, and spices (if using) in a small saucepan. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Add as many of the eggs as will fit with some room to roll around. Gently swirl the pan, rolling the eggs in the sauce. Continue rolling around until the eggs are tan and infused with the soy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and transfer to a plate to cool. Repeat with any remaining eggs. Let the eggs cool, then refrigerate for up to 2 days (after which they’ll be safe but getting too salty).
Rotisserie Chicken Ramen
Makes 4 servings
1 rotisserie chicken, whole or leftover
1 piece (1″) fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 small carrot (optional)
1 dried shiitake mushroom
3 slices bacon (about 2 oz)
12 C water
4 portions ramen noodles (preferably fresh)
8 t soy sauce
2 cooked eggs (optional but very nice; see Soy Sauce Eggs, above), halved
If you’re starting with a leftover rotisserie chicken carcass, scavenge it for good meaty bits, and set them aside. If you have purchased a cooked chicken expressly for this recipe, then carefully cut away the breast meat, reserve the drumsticks, and use your fingers to shred off the leg meat—but just the big, fit-for-a-king pieces that come away easily. You can leave plenty of chicken on the carcass; that clingy meat will make for a flavorful soup. Pull or slice the meat into bite-size pieces and reserve in the fridge while you make the broth.
Break the chicken carcass into a few pieces and put them in a stockpot. Trim the roots and dark green parts of the scallions and add them to the pot; thinly slice the white and tender green parts and reserve them to garnish the soup. Add the ginger, carrot (if using), shiitake, and bacon. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat from a rolling boil to a rollicking simmer, and skim any froth that collects on the surface during the first 10 minutes of simmering.
Cook until the liquid is reduced by one-third (to 8 cups), about 2 hours. Strain the broth. (That shiitake is probably pretty delicious and tender at this point so you can save and slice it and use it as a garnish on the finished dish, but scrap the rest.) The broth can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 2 days.
To serve: Bring the broth to a strong simmer and cook the ramen noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles very well, and portion them out among 4 deep soup bowls. Top with broth. Season each bowl with 2 teaspoons soy sauce, a portion of the reserved chicken meat, scallions, half an egg, and whatever else you’ve got. (See ideas on the following pages!) Eat immediately.
Do I really have to cook this for TWO HOURS??
We don’t want to make you do anything you’re not comfortable with. But we found that 2 hours is the sweet spot for flavor extraction and reduction. Also, you don’t really do anything during that time except for maybe cook an egg or two—plenty of time to watch an old Eddie Murphy movie or stare endlessly into the antisocial abyss that is your smartphone!
BUT BUT BUT Why do I have to skim it?
Skimming the broth during the first 10 minutes will force you to pay attention to the hardness of the simmer, observe the water level in the pot, and get to know the broth. Also, we found that with rotisserie chicken (unlike plain old raw chicken), there is some rendered grease that can emulsify in a muddy way. Our early stabs at this broth went unskimmed; they came out murky and tasted sort of flat. This approach yields a cleaner-tasting and clearer soup—and a better bowl of ramen.
Reprinted from Lucky Peach Presents: 101 Easy Asian Recipes. Copyright © 2015 by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.